WILMINGTON It sometimes takes horrific accidents or grisly injuries to get people talking in the hockey world, and that was the case again this week when Chris Pronger suffered a nasty eye injury.
Pronger was lucky enough to avoid permanent damage to his sight when a stick nailed the Flyers defenseman right outside the right eye, and the intimidating blueliner ran to the dressing room in obvious pain. The news was good for Pronger and he should be back within a matter of weeks after dodging a series of serious injuries, but the Flyers captain will be wearing a protective visor when he returns to the Philly lineup.
Some players ditch the visors when they got to the professional ranks and some waver back and forth about the visors usefulness, but Claude Julien said he attempts to gently push his players toward protective visors whenever the opportunity presents itself. Julien was a hockey player that dealt with eye injuries during his playing career when visors were essentially nonexistent, and the Bs coach said anybody from top line skill players to fourth line grinders should be able to wear a protective visor.
Today players are coming up through the ranks with a visor and theyre used to playing with them, said Julien. I dont know why theyd want to take them off. When I played those things were just coming into the league and nobody had played with them before. You just couldnt get adjusted to it.
Today I find that players come into the league and sometimes take them off, and it can partially be because they play a tough game and theyre going to drop their gloves. But there are a lot of guys that drop the gloves and wear visors. If it were me Id protect myself any way I could. Id encourage anybody to wear the visor, but once you turn pro and youve got your contract it all becomes your responsibility. Its hard for us to force anybody, so all we can do is suggest that they keep a visor on.